Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dried Cranberry and Sesame seed rusks


1kg self-raising flour
10 ml baking powder
125ml Dried Cranberries
5 ml salt
250 ml sugar
375 ml coconut
50 ml sesame seeds
250 g butter, grated
2 extra-large eggs
250ml Sour Cream
250ml Buttermilk
5ml Lemon essence

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF). Spray a 28 x 38 cm oven pan with non-stick spray. Combine all the dry ingredients. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Whisk the eggs, sour cream, milk and lemon essence together and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until a soft, manageable dough is formed. Roll into balls, or turn into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until done - a testing skewer should come out clean when inserted into the centre of the dough. Cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Break into pieces and arrange on a baking sheet. Reduce the oven temperature to 100 ºC (200 ºF) and dry the rusks overnight or until dry. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 34 pieces.

These rusks were a Christmas gift for my Boyfriend from my Mother, it was a bottomless present, this means she will be making alot of these in the future ; )

Picture and Recipe Copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mushroom Shoot

On a previous post I mentioned assisting on a mushroom shoot for Wine Style Magazine, these are not the official pictures but ones that I snapped while we were setting up each shot. We also made a Pizza and Mushrooms with Crusty Bread, I will post all the official pictures when I get them.
It was so much fun , I really hope to do something like this again soon, we also had a good time sampling all the recipes.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Very Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

A while ago I went on holiday to one of the most beautiful Islands in Madagascar called Ile aux Nattes, on this Island you can buy thick, juicy , plump Madagascan Vanilla Beans for about R1 each, a give away when you can pay up to 30 times that for a very dry flavourless bean back home. I bought two bunches while I was there with our last change intending on coming home and doing a million different thinks with them, making flavoured sugar, cakes, custards and even just like they did on the island, serve it in a savoury sauce with prawns or duck. This did not happen until today when I decided to make cupcakes and once the Vanilla beans were spotted I decided upon Very Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting.




1.5 cups plain flour (all purpose)

1.5 tsp baking powder

2.5ml salt

125ml unsalted butter at room temp

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

125ml milk (can use 2% if you like) / Buttermilk / Sour Cream

1 tsp vanilla paste (or use one vanilla bean, I used my Vanilla Pods from Madagascar)


125ml unsalted butter at room temp

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste or 1 vanilla bean , I used another whole vanilla bean

2-3 tbsp milk


Cupcake batter: Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners.

In a Magimix bowl, combine butter and sugar; cream together until mixture is light and fluffy.

Add eggs, 1 at a time and beat until well combined. In a small bowl stir the milk and vanilla paste or vanilla bean together. Alternately add the flour mixture, then the milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, mixing on low speed until combined.

Spoon the batter into the liners, about 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes for around 20 mins (depends on your oven), until the cakes are pale golden and spring back when gently pressed on top.

Cool in the pan for 5 mins then turn onto wire rack.

Icing: In a medium bowl beat the butter until fluffy; add the sifted confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.

Add vanilla paste or bean and enough milk until icing is smooth and creamy (around 5 mins).

Top cooled cupcakes with icing and decorate as desired.

Makes: 12 medium sized cupcakes

Picture and Recipe Copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beef and Mushroom Stir Fry

Yesterday I assisted Diane Heierli on a Mushroom Shoot for Wine Style Magazine I will post those pictures when the magazine comes out. It was so much fun making all the food and helping with the final picture, my body and hand even appear in some of the shots. As A parting gift once we were done Diane gave me a "truck load" of assorted Mushrooms, brown and white shimeji, Shitake and King Oyster so for the next few day we will be eating Mushroom meals at our house for dinner which is fine by me as I love all of these.
Yesterday I made chicken Schnitzel , Baked Potato and Creamy Mushroom sauce. Tonight I once again wanted something quick and had some beef mince and veggies in the fridge so I made this Stir Fry:

Beef and Mushroom Stir fry

Serves 2
250g lean beef mince
150g Assorted mushrooms
1/2 onion, chopped
3 Cloves, Garlic
1 Chilli, chopped
3 Young Carrots, I grate it on the coarse side so it is quicker and easier but it can be julienned too
3 Baby Marrows also grated
1/2 lime, Juiced
125g Rice Stick Noodles, these are like Tagliatelle in shape but made with rice flour (wheat free)
2 tbls Sweet Soy Sauce
2 tbls Oyster sauce
2 tbls Dark Soy sauce
a handful of fresh basil
salt and pepper

Saute` the mushrooms in olive oil and season, set aside.
Saute` the grated baby marrow and place it with the mushrooms.
Saute` the grated carrot and place it with the mushrooms too.
Fry the onion, garlic and chilli, then add the mince and cook until golden brown.
Meanwhile cook your noodles as per the directions on the packet, strain and set aside.
Once the mince is browned, add everything back into the pan, add the flavourings and torn up fresh basil. Serve.

This is a great wheat free recipe and can also be changed up to your liking, more vegetables can be added or substituted, you can add the noodles of your choice and it can be made as spicy as you wish, also a big plus, its only 1 dirty pan and 1 dish : )

Recipe and Picture copyright by Tamsyn Wells
Styling and Photograph done by Me

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Za'atar Roasted Chicken

I visited the Chef`s Warehouse ( in Cape Town the other day. This place is heaven for a foodie, coffee is offered when you walk in and then you browse amazing kitchen tools, knives and dishes then move onto beautiful Imported and Local Recipe Books ( this I am happy about because as much as I actually do love Jamie Oliver and his Books, here you will find the real chef books like Charlie Trotter, Jason Atherton and El Bulli books to name a few). Around the corner are gourmet ingredients like Truffle oils, unusual flours, seeds, nuts, oils and vinegars etc.
I however was gripped by the unusual spices which I had read about but not ever tasted, so I bought the more unsual ones. You buy by weight so I took a little to try but will definately go back for more. I went home with Sumac which is know to have an astrin­gent-acidic flavour, Pippali also known as the long pepper is similiar to our Black pepper but is a bit hotter, Lastly I bought Za'atar which is a mixture of sumac, thyme, sesame seeds, marjoram, oregano and salt.

I figured the most neautral food to try out my spices and take a picture while I am at it would be Chicken so here is My recipe for Za'atar Roasted Chicken and to compliment this I made a red onion and tomato salad, Tzatziki and roast potatoes.

Za'atar Roasted Chicken

1 Whole Free Range Chicken
1 Lemon, zest and juice
4 Cloves Garlic chopped
2 Tbls Za'atar
80ml Olive oil
Salt and Pippali or Black Pepper

2 Carrots sliced
1 Onion sliced
5 Garlic Cloves
2 sprigs Rosemary

Clean inside the chicken and Spatchcock ( Cut out the back bone and flatten the chicken)
Mix all the other ingredients and rub it all over the chicken.

Place the Carrots, onion, garlic and rosemary in the bottom of a roasting pan.
Lie the spatchcock Chicken ontop and roast for 45 minutes to 1 Hour on 180 degrees.

Baste the chicken halfway through cooking time.
Joint the chicken and serve with the above suggestions and lemon wedges.

This will also be delicious shredded and served inside pita breads with tomato salsa, tzatziki and crispy onion rings.....hhhmmm will try this next time for sure.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Greek Fisherman.

I really try to cook after work as often as possible for many reasons, health, I really feel like something particular after cooking all day, I want to use up groceries I have purchased and of course its time for my boyfriend and myself to sit, chat and relax after crazy days at work however there are times when I just dont want to and on those days he takes me out somewhere, normally somewhere we have been before and we go for the same things we like to eat from different places like at Bacini`s I cant resist the Valentino pizza topped with loads of Parma ham and rocket!! This time we needed to go to the shops so we went to the Greek fisherman for something different or so we had hoped.

You walk in and the staff are friendly and welcoming, even though they were expecting a large function we were still seated but warned we would not be able to stay for long which was ok as we needed to do something.
The Decor is totally unGreek in my opinion it looks like any other place, look at the menu and there are very few greek things, no spanakopita, no filled pita, its more like any grill house menu with a few greek items in between.
So I had the mussels and scallops to start and my boyfriend the Greek dip platter they were both fine but not amazing and tasty like Greek food actually is.
For Main I had the Souvlaki and He had the Moussaka, Mine was very lacking, two tough, unimaginitive, plain Kebabs with tomato salsa and Tzatziki with two Roast Potatoes for R145 was a big time rip off and very average in flavour once again, the mousakka also a big let down and way over priced, we had one bottle of water with this and the bill was R450.
I dont think....actually I know we wont go back there again, leave it for the tourists who can afford having bad Greek Food in Africa,

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wheat Free Crunchies

I have really wanted to become a Food Stylist for a long time now however I always get pulled back into the kitchen by somebody opening a new Restaurant or Hotel before I get the chance to even try properly.
I have done a few things already and they are here on this blog, one of the latest was to style an entire Braai cookbook, which was done in one day.... by the way and since then I have really wanted to do this.
So I have been phoning everyone I can think of lately to try and get an assistant job so I can learn a bit more before I possibly go it alone.
Well in the meantime I wanted to practice at home and try taking the photos too so I can see where I can improve.
So today was My first day of practice and it was just to see what I have at home to use and make something super quick as the sun was already going down. It was taken with just a normal tiny camera and I realised I had no props here as they are all at my Mothers House so not the best shot and its harder than I thought. I guess becase as A chef I always made food to be eaten and now to make something where the picture can be kept forever is a whole new ball game..... anyway its gonna be a fun, food filled ride.

Recipe: Picture and recipe Copyright By Tamsyn Wells

Wheat Free Crunchies
180g Butter
2 tbl Golden Syrup
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
2 cups dessicated coconut
1 cup oats
1 cup sugar
1 cup rice flour

Melt the first 3 ingredients in a saucepan, add the other ingredients.
Press into a greased or foil lined swissroll tin.
Bake on 180 C for 7 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the crunchies in with the oven door ajar for a few minutes.
Remove , cool and cut into desired shapes, decorate with chocolate if desired.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another new trend in cupcakes

Monday, December 10, 2007

Red Velvet Cake Balls

Red Velvet Cake Balls

Red Velvet Cake Balls
1 red velvet cake mix (cook as directed in recipe for 13 X 9 cake)
1 cream cheese frosting
1 bar chocolate (regular or white chocolate)
wax paper

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly with cream cheese frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)
3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50. You can get even more if you use a mini ice cream scooper, but I like to hand roll them.)
4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)
5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.
6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.)

I also only melt a few pieces of chocolate bark at a time because it starts to cool and thicken. It’s easier to work with when it’s hot.

Want to see how good they look in white chocolate?

Cake Balls

Tuesday, July 27, 2010



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1-oz. bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)
  • 1 recipe Whoopie Pie Filling, recipe below


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment; set aside. In medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating after each addition just until combined. Stir in food coloring.

3. Spoon batter in 1- or 2-inch diameter rounds, about 1/2-inch high on prepared baking sheets, allowing 1 inch between each round.

4. Bake 7 to 9 minutes for 1-inch cookies or 9 to 11 minutes for 2-inch cookies, or until tops are set. Cool completely on baking sheets on rack. Remove cooled cookies from baking sheets.

5. To fill, dollop Whoopie Pie Filling on flat sides of half the cookies. Top with remaining cookies, flat sides down. Makes 60 one-inch or 42 two-inch cookies.

6. Whoopie Pie Filling: In medium mixing bowl beat 1/4 cup softened butter and half an 8-ounce package softened cream cheese until smooth. Fold in one 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme.

7. To store: Refrigerate in airtight container up to 4 days. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I made these for my Birthday last year however I think this year I am going to make Whoopee Pies.....

Birthday cake

Tuesday, July 20, 2010